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Hugo Lloris and Spurs hoping clarity at home can lead to a glory night

first_imgChampions League Mauricio Pochettino takes heart in 1992 semi-final win against the odds Tottenham Hotspur 1:05 Read more Show Topics Share via Email For Hugo Lloris, the exhilaration was in the surprise. Tottenham had slipped up again, losing their heads at Bournemouth on Saturday to incur two red cards and then the points to a stoppage-time header from Nathan Aké. Twitter: follow us at @guardian_sportFacebook: like our football and sport pagesInstagram: our favourite photos, films and storiesYouTube: subscribe to our football and sport channels “When you see how many big clubs are involved in this competition and how they invest every season in the top players to reach the last four and the final – with the ambition to win it – you realise how hard it is to come close to the final,” he said. “There are no guarantees in the future to be here again so that’s why you really need to enjoy the moment and think year by year. You just need to enjoy the moment and give your best because you never know what will happen in the future.”Spurs have benefited on the domestic front from the mistakes of others but in Europe they can look at nobody other than themselves. Quite simply, they have to find a cure for the travel sickness after losing nine of their previous 10 away games in all competitions. Pinterest Twitter Pochettino says he may leave Spurs if they win Champions League – video Facebook Tottenham endured a terrible day on Saturday, ending with nine men and conceding an injury-time goal at Bournemouth. Photograph: Mark Kerton/PA Share on LinkedIn Spurs is most important match in Ajax stadium’s history, says Erik ten Hag “The last two or three months have been very difficult for all the Premier League clubs involved in European competition,” he said. “There has been a lot of mental fatigue and body fatigue and that’s why there have been some strange results. It’s a good moment for the club to learn for the future and how to deal with important periods.“It will be very important to start against Ajax in the way we want. It was not the case in the first leg and we lost a bit of confidence. We were so disappointed and we need to use this game as a motivation, to learn very quickly from it. To compete for the Champions League final is huge for the club and we all believe we can do it.”There has been no little discussion of the four former Ajax players in Spurs’s ranks, although Davinson Sánchez is out after he suffered a thigh injury at Bournemouth. Vertonghen has recovered from the heavy blow he took to his nose in the first leg, which had sparked fears of a concussion, and he could play in a protective mask. Share on Facebook Spurs’ near certain return to the Champions League is to be cherished, particularly given the obstacles they have had to contend with – most notably the delays to their new stadium and the lack of investment in the squad. But opportunity knocks now – in Amsterdam – and Lloris was not about to overlook that. His pre-match message was clear: the players must embrace the moment, which carries the chance to become the first Spurs team to reach the final of Europe’s elite club competition, because nobody knows when it might come around again.center_img Read more Photograph: Chesnot/Getty Images Europe Ajax When Lloris settled down to watch Arsenal’s home game against Brighton on Sunday, he cannot have hoped for much and yet it happened. Hard on the heels of Manchester United’s draw at Huddersfield, Arsenal could only draw, too, and the upshot was that Spurs had effectively sown up Champions League qualification for the fourth season in succession. Only a near-impossible eight-goal swing on the final day will deny them.“I’ll take that,” the Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen tweeted, as he revelled primarily in the relief. Lloris was more measured – he always is – but what struck him was the feeling of clarity. The club captain and his teammates are in Amsterdam for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final against Ajax, trailing 1-0, and a major worry has been offset. Rather abruptly, the Premier League visit from Everton on Sunday looks a lot less stressful and Spurs can pour all of their energies into one of the games of their lives.“It’s a positive thing for us,” Lloris said. “We were a little bit down after Bournemouth and especially about the scenario of the game [with the red cards] but we also knew it was still up to the other challengers to get the points. Finally, Manchester United and Arsenal drew and it gave us a little bit of relief. It helps us to manage this week with more positive minds, with all the focus on Ajax.“I followed the Arsenal-Brighton game at home, like I followed Man City-Liverpool on Monday night because, firstly, I like football. But maybe I watch with more focus when there is something on it for us.” Thank you for your feedback. All four of them – the others being Toby Alderweireld and Christian Eriksen – were poor in the first leg and it has been possible to detect exasperation at the club about the plotline that has tracked them. Did it unnerve them? Even Lloris admitted that “it’s not an easy game for them to manage” but he quickly returned to his principle theme – the requirement to blot out each and every distraction.“The context will help them,” Lloris said. “There is a place in the Champions League final at stake. It’s the type of game when you need to put your emotion on the side and just be ready to fight. The only focus for them is to win.” Was this helpful? According to Lloris, the club must learn to better manage this stage of the season, when the schedule is remorseless – he referenced the mental and physical fatigue that had and, presumably, still is affecting the players – and he stressed the imperative for them to start with the bit between their teeth against Ajax. In the first leg Spurs missed the opening quarter or so, which was mystifying and damaging. Hide Share on Twitter features Quick guide Follow Guardian sport on social media Share on Messenger Mauricio Pochettino says he may leave Spurs if they win Champions League Play Video Share on Pinterest Share on WhatsApp Reuse this content Read morelast_img read more